About the Faculty of Physician Associates 

The Faculty of Physician Associates (FPA) provides professional support to physician associates across the UK. Members of the faculty are part of a professional membership body campaigning for progress and change in the profession, advising government, and taking part in national debates on medical, clinical and public health issues. The FPA reviews and sets standards for:

  • the education and training of physician associates
  • accreditation of university programmes and
  • physician associate national certification and recertification examinations.

The faculty provides support to both qualified and student physician associates in their education, training and professional development, giving members access to a benefits package that includes a CPD diary, publications, library resources, and discounts on professional development courses and events.

The FPA oversees and administers the running of the Physician Associate Managed Voluntary Register (FPAMVR) and is campaigning to achieve statutory registration of the profession.

For information on how to become a member of the FPA, visit our join pages.

Background to the FPA and physician associates in the UK

The position of physician assistant developed in the US in the 1960s and equivalent or similar roles exist in many healthcare systems around the world.

In the UK, physician associates (PAs) were formally introduced in 2003 when Sandwell and Rowley Regis Primary Care Trust enlisted two US-trained PAs in response to local recruitment difficulties. This was followed by further recruitment of US-trained PAs in the Birmingham area.

  • In 2004, the Department of Health (DH) commissioned an evaluation of the impact of introducing PAs. The results indicated a high level of both patient and physician satisfaction. In line with NHS goals, there was acceptance and appropriate provision of medical care with a strongly patient-centred focus.
  • In 2005, the UK Association of Physician Associates (UKAPA) was incorporated as a legal entity, acting as a professional body for PAs.
  • In 2006, the DH released the Competence and Curriculum Framework (CCF) for the physician associate, developed in partnership with The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) and the Royal College of General Practitioners. A key development was the establishment of a managed voluntary register for physician associates in November 2011.

Since then, the profession has gone from strength to strength in the UK, and in July 2015 UKAPA joined forces with the Royal College of Physicians to launch the Faculty of Physician Associates at the RCP. 

The FPA works today to represent the interests of its 750 members and support them throughout their physician associate education and careers.